Fabrication and applications are discussed for a visible-wavelength micropolarizer array consisting of a linear polarizer and a micropatterned liquid-crystal (LC) cell. LC alignment direction is controlled by means of depositing an optically transparent gold film at an oblique angle and coating the surface with an alkanethiol self-assembled monolayer. Microdomains of two perpendicular LC alignment directions are created by photolithography and etching of the gold layer, rotating the substrate 90 deg, and depositing a second oblique gold layer in the etched areas. The resulting array is used for polarization-difference imaging (PDI), a technique that enhances image contrast in the presence of scattering. Images obtained with the array require more processing than do conventional PDI images, but this method eliminates the need for an electronically activated LC filter and is especially suited to systems whose filters are closely integrated with optical sensor arrays.
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